What Is The Best Decking For a Boat Dock?

April 12 2021

If you recently acquired a property by the lake, you are now probably thinking of the best dock decking solution for your boat. Whether you want to purchase a new dock or upgrade an existing one, the type of decking you install to sit on that dock will determine the quality of your dock. You will know the quality of a dock by how stable and safe it feels when you walk on the dock flooring.

What constitutes a dock?

A dock includes the frames, flotation, and attachment method. The wood or aluminum frame is the skeleton of the dock system. What enhances the dock’s overall appearance is decking.

This is important to know because when you want to build a dock, your dock builder or contractor will ask you to choose the decking you want with the dock. Below are some of the most popular dock flooring choices.

Wood Decking

Wood decking is often the first choice because it is durable and has natural oils and tannins that prevent decay, rot, and insect invasion. You can go for either softwood or hardwood decking.

Softwood is cheaper because it takes a shorter time to grow. Hardwood or IPE hardwood is more expensive because it is denser and more compact than softwood. Red cedar is one of the most popular softwood decking materials.

Go for softwood that contains more heartwood than sapwood because heartwood repels insects and is more resistant to decay. As far as maintenance is concerned, softwood and hardwood decks need a yearly power wash and staining every three to four years.

Aluminum decking

People seeking lightweight and durable decking sometimes choose aluminum as decking material. Aluminum decking requires very little maintenance, which makes it ideal for public or commercial spaces. However, they can get really hot in the sun and gradually fade, and can become chalky. They also dent easily and often rust due to impacts.

The most common complaint, however, is that aluminum decks lack the character that wood decks provide.

Treated wood

For those who want a classic look for their decking but cannot afford hardwood or softwood decking, treated wood is a reasonable option. Treated wood includes wood that is treated with preservative chemicals to prolong the useful lifecycle of the wood. While the chemical treatment makes this type of wood resistant to insects, such as termites, it does not make it resistant to rot.

This means that you have to clean and stain or seal your treated wood deck regularly to make it resistant to water to prevent rot. Another issue with this type of wood is that it can develop more splinters as it ages.

Composite decking

Composite decking is durable and eco-friendly. It also looks natural because it is made using a mixture of recycled wood and plastics. It comes in various colors and can have a smooth woodgrain finish. The only issue with composite decking is that it can get really hot in the sun, and it is quite heavy, which can make it difficult to install.

PVC Decking

PVC Decking has quickly become the most popular decking choice for the majority of applications. PVC decking is made by whipping PVC into a lighter less dense aerated foam. The foam is then extruded to various sizes and takes on the working characteristics of real wood without all the disadvantages. PVC decking offers a no maintenance solution for every climate, budget and design.

Do not settle for dock decking choices that a decking dealer has in their store. Instead, research to find a decking that you like.

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